A dentist has examined your teeth because you have pain and he finds that you need a root canal. Things have changed over the years. Root canal therapy has improved. Perhaps the reason is that today's anesthesia options are better. However, there are alternatives to a root canal.
A root canal is a procedure used to treat and save a tooth that is severely decayed or infected. The nerve and pulp are removed and the inside of the tooth is cleaned and sealed. If you need a root canal--especially if the decay has reached the nerve--you probably have acute tooth pain. Your dentist can prescribe pain medication for you, or you may take over-the-counter pain relievers such as Tylenol and Aspirin. Natural treatments such as saltwater gargles and clove oil, have proven to subside tooth pain and can be applied in as little as five minutes.
When a patient needs a root canal -- the removal of the inflamed soft tissues inside the root of a tooth, or the pulp -- dentists use other types of tools. For example, an electric pulp tester tells a dentist whether a tooth is vital or whether it is dead -- an indication that it needs root canal therapy. In addition, dentists use files to clean and shape a root canal. They use spreaders and pluggers to pack a rubber compound, called gutta-percha, into the root canal to seal it up.
If a dentist can find an area of exposed tooth at the crown margin, she can pulp-test a crowned tooth electronically. Some EPT devices have adapters with fine tips that allow contact with narrow areas of an exposed tooth. Cold pulp tester does not require direct access to the tooth beneath the crown because the materials from which crowns are made conduct cold in a manner comparable to natural tooth enamel.
You’re done, at last. Your endodontic treatment (root canal) is now complete. The canals inside the roots have been cleaned, irrigated, medicated and permanently sealed. The opening in the tooth through which root canal treatment was done has been sealed with a filling.
Discuss alternatives with your dentist. They have the knowledge and can consider your circumstances. They know the pain level and fee structure of the procedure. However, they don't know your pain threshold and money situation. You have this information, so talk about it with the dentist.
If the tooth is actually dead, you'll get an infection. You cannot bring a dead tooth back to life, so pull it and get rid of the infection.